Rare Transit of Venus to occur June 5


Photo courtesy of NASA

There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the Transit of Venus, even though this rare astronomical event will yield little scientific value. On Tuesday, June 5th, Venus will cross the face of the sun. The transit will take about seven hours and begin at 6:09 p.m. EDT.

Levi Castle

The 2012 Transit of Venus, an anomaly that won’t be seen again until 2117, will occur Tuesday, June 5. When wearing eye protection, the transit will be visible to the naked eye, and even more so to those that have a filter-equipped telescope.

When the Transit of Venus occurs, the planet, showing as a small black dot, will pass directly in front of the sun for a full 6 or more hours, beginning at 5:00 p.m. CDT. The act of passing in front of the sun can only be achieved by Venus and Mercury, as they are the only planets in the solar system between Earth and the massive ball of nuclear fusion.

While the spectacle will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that might sound intriguing, viewing the sun directly and without sufficient eye protection will result in serious injury to the eyes. To counter this danger, there are many tips circulating the Internet about what can be worn to safely view the transit.

Among the most popular suggestions are welding masks and eclipse shades with no. 14 or darker glass, pinhole projectors and solar filters that can be attached to telescopes that block nearly 100 percent of sunlight.

Viewing the sun through a telescope without a filter will result in permanent damage to the eyes.

The June 5, 2012 Transit of Venus will be a unique spectacle that the human race will not witness for another 105 years. When viewed safely, onlookers will get a chance to appreciate the solar system’s vastness in a rare way.